Dear Blog Friends,
As practice before I post my novel, I decided to post some of my short stories as singles. Like a vinyl single, mine are going to have an A side and a B side.
The A side of this is “Emily’s Fifth Birthday” a very literary science fiction short story I wrote at Clarion. One of my teachers loved this story, and told me it would be perfect for Asimov’s. Alas, Sheila Williams did not agree. It was a semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future contest, and came very close to getting accepted at a prestigious science magazine, but I wasn’t really able to get much traction. It could be that it’s a little too literary for most science fiction venues, and a little too science fiction for literary venues. I decided to stop submitting it, because I wanted a strong story to kick off my ‘singles’ line.
There’s a brand of children’s clothing that has as its motto, “If only they could stay little…”. The final part of that is “…till their Carter’s wears out,” implying that Carter’s clothing is very durable. When my babies were little, I saw only the first part of that on the onesie and shuddered. Imagine if they never grew up. Wouldn’t that be awful? But for some mothers, that wouldn’t be awful at all. ”Emily’s Fifth Birthday” is about a world in which parents can keep their children young as long as they want.
The B side of this is “Alternative Medicine” a dark and subtle science fiction story that presents a dystopian future in a banal and ordinary way. The protagonist, Hannah, has an undiagnosable medical ailment that she’s desperate to find a cure for. She’s even desperate enough to kill for it, sort of. I got this accepted into a magazine “Alternative Coordinates” last year, but AC recently went under and my rights reverted, so I’m republishing it here.
I hope both of these stories give you something to think about. If you enjoy them, that will make me very happy.